There's a sickening monotony to mass shootings in America. They happen so often that we've come to expect them.
Columbine, Virginia Tech, Fort Hood, Tucson. We're initially enraged, but not really shocked, by death and suffering inflicted by disturbed men with guns.
On Friday, Americans awoke to news of another tragic free-fire zone. James Holmes, 24, was arrested and charged with killing 12 people and injuring 59 others at a midnight showing of the movie The Dark Knight Rises in a Denver suburb. Early reports described the suspect as a jobless loner who dropped out of a doctoral program in neuroscience.
Police said he used four guns: two pistols, a shotgun, and an AR-15 military-style semi-automatic rifle.
How many lives might have been saved if Congress had had the backbone to stand up to Washington's gun lobby and say that no individual civilian needs that kind of firepower? Americans' Second Amendment right to bear arms would not be infringed on.
Military-grade firearms are not needed for sport, hunting, or personal protection. They serve only to kill many people quickly, such as teenagers and adults in a movie theater.
That's the kind of America the gun lobby believes in and guarantees each time it stops a bill that would sensibly regulate the kind and number of weapons we can own.
Presidents may fear the gun lobby, and members of Congress may cower in its shadow, but it's time for patriotic Americans to pry its trigger finger off our right to live without fear.